Kansas News

Day of Silence provided a moving experience for attendees

silence-is-powerful1By Isabella Parker, staff reporter

WICHITA - Wichita’s Day of Silence celebration, organized by GLSEN and celebrated on April 14 in A. Price Woodard Park, was an extremely moving and powerful event for all who participated. Along with several supportive groups from around Wichita, over 100 people showed up to the rally.
    GLSEN board member Liz Hamor explained how important it is for the National Day of Silence to be appreciated in Wichita, “We needed something like this in the community to change the climate for schools.” Bullying, especially in the LGBT+ community, is  common, and having rallies and events to support students is important.

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Wichita Pride announces 2016 Parade Marshal

HamorWICHITA - The 2016 Pridefest Parade Marshal has been selected. The Wichita Pride Inc. board would like to announce that Liz Hamor has been chosen. Hamor says she is a stay-at-home mom, but she’s often been seen around Wichita standing up for LGBT rights. Her work as Co-Founder and Co-Chair of GLSEN Greater Wichita, an Equality Kansas South Central Chapter member, and with the local schools’ GSA’s makes her an honorable pick.
    Hamor has built a reputation for being very humble. For her birthday she posted on Facebook, “In lieu of a gift I’d be honored if you’d sponsor a senior or two for our Rainbow Graduation program!“ Hamor breaks the silence against LGBT bullying every day.

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Gov. Brownback suggests new policy to make it harder to change birth certificates

brownbackBy Jeromiah Taylor, staff reporter

TOPEKA - Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has advocated legislation which could make it harder for transgender Kansans to change their birth certificate.
The proposed legislation removes previous rules which allowed major changes to birth certificates under certain circumstances.  
    Previously transgender Kansans could change the sex on their birth certificates to match their gender if they signed an affidavit and provided medical proof that they had undergone an anatomical change.
    Currently Governor Brownback is advocating for a change in policy which only allows individuals to change their birth certificate if they can prove that their sex was incorrectly recorded at birth.
    This effectively negates the ability of transgender Kansans to change their birth certificates even after transitioning.    

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LGBT Health Coalition sets goals for the year ahead

stethoscopes-rainbowBy Trevor Reichle, staff reporter

WICHITA - In 2010, a group of Kansans in the Wichita area came together to form the LGBT Health Coalition in order to promote awareness of health issues to the LGBT community and to provide those in the LGBT community with a resource to get the healthcare they need from local providers who are friendly and knowledgeable on LGBT-related health issues. Now, six years later, the coalition continues in these efforts, recently setting their goals for 2016.
    Kim Neufeld, one of the founding members, has remained highly active in the effort of ensuring the coalition stays visible and up-to-date on the organization’s mission. Neufeld, who has worked in healthcare promotion in Sedgwick County for a decade, said the primary reason for the genesis of the coalition was the lack of addressing of LGBT health issues in the area.

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With spring comes arrests in the parks

WICHITA - It’s that time of year where everyone heads to the local parks to enjoy the spring and summer months. And with the coming of warmer days, reports of intimate activities in the parks will also increase.
    About a year ago the Wichita Police Department (WPD) contacted Wichita’s LGBT Center in an effort to help educate the community in regard to the various inappropriate activities that occur in the parks. Working together with the Wichita Police Community Outreach officer, representatives from the Center are hoping to educate and get the word out that some activities should be shared in the privacy of one’s own home and not in the park.

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Trans-Formation Celebration in Lawrence

PryorLAWRENCE - On May 7, Interpersonal Psychiatry is hosting a Trans-Formation Celebration, an event to celebrate the transitioning process for transpeople. This positive and affirming event will spotlight medical, social, and legal aspects of transitioning gender for both transwomen and transmen.
    Stephanie Mott from K-Step and Jay Pryor of Lawrence, will be sharing their experiences as well. The celebration is open to the public and starts at 1pm, concludes at 4pm, and will be in the office of Interpersonal Psychiatry, 901 Kentucky, Suite 303, Lawrence.

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Bullied for her sexuality, Kansas teen speaks out

B-LBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

BASEHOR - Hannah Reno, a 17-year-old junior at Basehor-Linwood High School, says she received a threatening and bullying Facebook message from two male students on Friday, April 1. The message appeared to be song lyrics that addressed her sexuality, and also included threats to kill Reno.
    In an interview with Fox 4 Kansas City, Reno’s father said that the message also included specific details about “cutting her throat, shooting her” and “slitting her own wrists and cutting her own throat.”
    Reno has shared her story with news outlets that include Fox 4 Kansas City. Her story has also been picked up by various news sources worldwide, including the United Kingdom.
    “It was just extremely nasty,” Reno told Fox 4 of the Facebook message. “It addressed things like my sexuality, and it addressed him wanting to kill me, him wanting me to kill myself.”

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LGBTQ Victims Services Center recently opened in Kansas City

KCAVPBy Emily Beckman, staff reporter

KANSAS CITY - The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP) is a nonprofit organization that has been providing services to the LGBTQ community since October 2002. On Jan. 29 the organization, which works to help both youth and adults, opened an LGBTQ domestic violence and sexual assault center.
    This is especially important because it is the only center in the Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa area specifically geared toward providing services for LGBTQ victims, according to the KCAVP website. The center itself is located at 4050 Pennsylvania Ave., Ste 135 in Kansas City, MO. However, services are also offered throughout both Kansas and Missouri.
    Melissa Brown, the programs director at KCAVP, works within each of the programs to provide services to survivors as well as trainings and technical assistance.  
    “It is important that the LGBTQ community have a space that they can be assured is safe, inclusive and supportive, Brown said. “A space where they can and will be heard. A space where we work in collaboration with the survivor to meet their needs and plan for their future safety.”

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Overland Park author pens resource book for same-sex parents

journeytosamesexparenthoodBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

OVERLAND PARK - Author and LGBT activist Eric Rosswood, from Overland Park, Kan., has written a resource book for same-sex parents. Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood, released Mar. 15, includes information on numerous options for having children, and includes insight and advice from 20 same-sex couples with children. Liberty Press asked Rosswood about his book, and how it has helped shape his own experience with parenting:

Liberty Press: Your book Journey to Same–Sex Parenthood was released Mar. 15. What kind of response have you received?
Eric Rosswood: So far the response has been amazing. I’m hearing from a lot of people that they wished they had this book when they started their own journey. And I think that’s probably the best feedback I can get.

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Events & Shows

A conversation with author Augusten Burroughs

BurroughsBy Grayson Barnes

AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS’ AGENT MANAGED TO squeeze me in so I could interview him just before his book reading and talk on April 4, at the Abode Venue on Douglas in Wichita. Watermark Books sponsored the event there because there was an expectation (rightly so) that the store would be too small.
    Burroughs was featuring his newest book, Lust and Wonder, the third in a series based on his memoirs. The first, Running with Scissors, appeared in 2002 and was about his early life. It focuses on the period after Burroughs’ mother and father signed his guardianship over to their psychiatrist. As a tangential member of the doctor’s family, Burroughs’ life was anything but clinical. Running with Scissors sprinted Burroughs to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List.
    Dry is next in the trio. In it, Burroughs details his recovery from alcoholism. Lust and Wonder picks up after that and recounts some of Burroughs’ relationships up to his marriage to Christopher.
    When he arrived, Burroughs’ fringe jacket received many compliments. The first came from Sarah Bagby, the owner of Watermark Books. His gracious “I wear this everywhere” charmed us. I added he was dressed perfectly for the Midwest, since the air was filled with smoke from range burnings in the area. He responded, “I don’t think it’s bad enough that I need to have it dry-cleaned!”
    After a few more compliments, we retired to a side room, parked on opposite ends of a gray just-this-side-of-Mid-Century-Modern couch, and started talking.

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Civic hacking comes to Riverfest

Hackathon24-hour event open to all skill sets

By Jeromiah Taylor, staff reporter

WICHITA - On June 4 at Wichita Riverfest a city-wide, 24-hour civil Hackathon will be hosted by Open Wichita a civic hacking organization.
    Wichita citizens will participate in a project to develop technological solutions to local civic problems. A hackathon is an event where people get together to see what kind of apps and things they can create in a 24-hour-long brainstorming session.
    The event is part of a national rise in “Civic Hacking,” a concept invented by an organization called Coding for America.
    “[Coding for America] is a little bit like a Peace Corps for geeks. We select a few fellows every year and we have them work with city governments. Instead of sending them off into the Third World, we send them into the wilds of City Hall. And there they make great apps [and] work with city staffers,” Jennifer Pahlka, Code for America founder said, in her Ted talk “Coding for a Better Government.”

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Art and Book Fair returns to Mother’s Day weekend

art-book-fairWICHITA — The Friends of the Wichita Art Museum are excited to bring the 57th Annual Art and Book Fair to the Wichita Art Museum. The art portion of the fair will feature national and regional artists outside the museum and inside hundreds of books will be on sale. Entertainment will be staged throughout the day, encouraging patrons to stroll through the newly landscaped Art Garden. Food from the Muse as well as from area food trucks will be available. Admission is free.
    Once a part of the Wichita River Festival, but always on Mother’s Day weekend, when the River Festival moved to June, the Art and Book Fair became a stand-alone event. This year’s dates are Saturday, May 7, 10am-5pm and Sunday, May 8, 11am-5pm.

The Art Fair
This year more than 50 artists will be participating in the Art Fair. Artist tents will be scattered around the paved areas of the museum’s grounds displaying a wide variety of works from a group of artists from as far away as Santa Barbara, CA to local favorites. This year, for the first time, the event will be held outside with the art show and sale portion of the event on the museum grounds itself. Works of art include painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, 3-D and 2-D multimedia, fiber, wood, glass, and printmaking.

The Book Fair

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Op/Eds

The Price on Our Heads

Isabella-Parker 2By Isabella Parker

Recently, the Kansas legislature has come out with a bill that would enforce extreme acts of discrimination and prosecution for transgender students. This bill states that if a student comes in contact with a transgender student using their preferred bathroom, that student can go to their administrator and sue the school for $2,500.
    The supposed goal of this bill is to protect cisgender students from emotional harm, as if having someone use their preferred bathroom would cause some kind of trauma for that person. But legislative representatives in favor of this bill seem to be forgetting how much emotional damage this bill will cause for transgender students across Kansas.
    The “Student Physical Privacy Act” is what the Kansas legislature ironically titled this bill. If this bill were to be passed, hundreds if not thousands of students can and will be affected. While the government of Kansas focuses all of its attention on the physical privacy of a cisgender student, the embarrassment and trauma that would befall a transgender student in the event of being discriminated against by their own school is completely overlooked.
    To better understand the situation: imagine you walk into the bathroom, class just ended and you simply need to pee before hurrying to your next hour. Suddenly, a person walks in and makes a point of telling those around you that you are different, you are not ‘supposed’ to be in there. Before you can protest you are being examined by the school, discriminated against by your peers, and put into an unforgiving spotlight, all while the person who made you feel insignificant is handed a check, a reward . . . a bounty.
    To put transgender students in this embarrassing position of being pointed out and mocked for their identities pales in comparison to the price that is now being placed on their heads.
    Discrimination and unfairness is something that people in the LGBT+ community deal with every day, but where should we draw the line? What has our society, which should be moving forward and progressing to a more inclusive future, become if we begin to put prices on the heads of innocent children, teenagers, and young adults? If this is the path that Kansas, and the United States, is going down, the safety and security of transgender-, gay-, lesbian-, bisexual-, etc.-identifying people will plummet.
    This is more than just an article, it is a call to action. This bill will become a major negative impact on transgender students if it passes, and in order to make the future seem like a bright and supportive place, a legislature that focuses on discrimination must never become a part of our government. l

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Liberty Press' discussions on Trump

LPCover-April2106Dear editor:

The April issue of Liberty Press has much to think about, and do. The Op/Ed discussion of atheism is good. But the two discussions/views on Trump are important and I hope other LGBT publications are doing as good a job of covering him from our interests.
    The serious discussion of Dr. Gary S. Smith (Grove City College prof.) makes the necessary points about his supporters, more than Trump, as does Dr. Minor in his column.
    He says most are not college graduates - I am not sure this is relevant, time will tell. They complain that their views are not being heard - and I think this cannot be said about Obama by GLBT voters/citizens. They want security, even at the expense of liberty - an eternal problem and citizens have a duty to learn what is real and how to hit the best compromise. I have thought about the fourth point - they live in areas where racial resentment is high - obvious since they hate Obama even if Jesus said He liked him. Sadly, most religions are our worst enemy.
    I have read one of the books mentioned- to understand the people/issues - True Believers by Eric Hoffer. I am not sure the Trump supporters fit this thinking. The other writer - Erich Fromm’s - thinking on Germany and Hitler does not apply - we are not in bad shape - despite the attempts by Republicans to say we are. Watching C-SPAN years from now, and reruns of Saturday Night Live, will be interesting and informative.
    Minor’s take is less academic and more practical. But I think we are wasting energy worrying about the silliness - it’s as fun - look at past election campaigns and it seems more fun to talk about penis size and sweating than attacking religion, patriotism, etc. Although I think Trump even questioned Cruz’s religiousness. Minor says it is a question of gender and masculinity.
    I want to shout out an “amen” to Mama Knows Best’s thinking about Trump (and other faults leading silly people to threaten to leave the country): “Sure move to Canada and run away when things get tough. (Otherwise) Act like a person with a backbone and stay and fight for what is right!”

Billy Glover

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